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Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier has been making steady progress since his devastating spine injury in December 2017 that left him unable to move his legs.
The 26-year-old hit another big milestone on Sunday, when he posted a video on his Instagram of him doing an impressive box jump.
Shazier’s road to recovery has been arduous; after he collided with Cincinnati Bengals receiver Josh Malone, he needed to be carted off the field and required spinal stabilization surgery. However, he was able to walk onto the stage at the 2018 NFL draft to announce the Steelers’ first-round pick just four months later.
More recently, Shazier was able to jog within a year of the injury and was able to begin lifting weights in December. Shazier has always talked about wanting to play again, but purely from a health standpoint, this is a big moment.
What is Shazier’s future with the Steelers?
Shazier remained under contract with the Steelers last season since his salary was guaranteed for injury, although he spent the entire season on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
It's unclear when Shazier might be able to play again, but the Steelers do want him to be around. Although he was set to be a free agent, the Steelers tolled his contract in March, which means that he will remain on the team's PUP list for 2019. His salary will be based on his years of service, and he'll crucially maintain his health insurance while continuing to accrue seasons towards his pension.
When healthy, Shazier was one in a long line of star Steelers linebackers. He started 36 games from 2015-17 and totaled at least 87 tackles each season along with 22 tackles for a loss, 17 quarterback hits, seven interceptions and three fumble recoveries.
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